Sunday, April 28, 2013

One Step at a Time

Boston Strong - MBTA bus on April 27th

First, I want to welcome all of the new readers on here. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to say my last two entries have helped. My posts have been sparse over the last few years, but I've found a new motivation and need to write. If you ever have any questions or even a request for a specific topic, let me know. I'm certainly not an expert on any of this, but I think my perspective may help. I'm just a regular girl with no inherited athletic gifts. It was just that one day the portion of myself that desired to try was greater than the part that was scared. It was this new community of runners, triathletes and spectators that was the tipping point.

I also need to again, thank everyone who has been there for The Husband and I over these past two weeks. Your calls, texts and messages have meant a lot. Even if you just "liked" a comment or status, I know you were thinking of us. If it wasn't for a friend looking out for us, I wouldn't have known to tell The Husband to stay at school on Thursday night when the shooting happened instead of riding his bike right through that area. I drove up to get him and by the time we were headed back, the streets were just swarming with police and SWAT vehicles. We had to pull over to get out of the way and I was shaking hard enough that it was really hard to drive. When I got home, there were dozens of messages on facebook, asking us to let them know we were ok. When we woke up the next morning, to find out we couldn't leave our apartment, there were again, dozens of messages from people checking on us. I had friends and coworkers I hadn't talked to in over a year contacting me and people from a facebook running group that I've never met in real life tagging me in a post to see how I was. Did I expect that amount of attention? No. Did it help? It sure did.

I think the two of us have somewhat moved past the extreme sadness we felt all of the first week. I know I was feeling pretty angry most of this past week too and now that I've had a few days off to catch up on sleep and visit the memorials, I feel a lot better. We're still both sad though and there are moments where something catches one of us off guard and brings it all back like it's brand new. I expect it will be like that for a while. Our neighborhood has been permanently changed.

If anything I have a sense of clarity now. The outpouring of well wishers and support has really shown me just how much people really care. I've always spent as much time with my family as possible and this has really reaffirmed that. Same thing with my friends. We saw a couple of friends yesterday that we hadn't seen in a while and I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day. Those hugs were some of the best yet. That's what I'm focusing on. The positive. The important things. There were some we know well that we still have not heard from. How I feel about that is irrelevant because, it's not about me. They have their own battles to fight. I've learned that you can only put yourself out there and then you have to let it go - and that's ok.

In the spirit of moving on, here's what's next:

The Peace Marathon can be run or walked, all in one day or in segments, between April 29th and May 31st. The money goes to the One Step Ahead Foundation to benefit the children injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, particularly, those in need of prosthetics. I'm planning on trying to get it all in during the next two weeks. I'm thinking I'll do two 5 milers, a 10K (6.2 miles) and a 10 miler.

If registration will allow (opens 5/8), we plan on running the Boston Athletic Associations 10K on 6/23. It's the first race that will occur for the BAA since the marathon and I have a feeling it will fill up fairly quickly. 

A week after the BAA 10K is the Cohasset Triathlon. I've been registered for it since December, but all of a sudden it's in two months!

On August 4th is the Boston Triathlon. It was my first triathlon ever and it's pretty special to me. I'm really looking forward to it.

Even though I SWORE that I was not going to do anything crazy this summer or fall (famous last words), I've been making myself crazy by looking at longer races. Will I really not do the BAA Half Marathon this year? Am I crazy for looking at Half Ironman triathlons after only one sprint distance race? Could I do a marathon? Or more accurately, would I make myself, and my family, insane if I register for one? Will I lose my motivation and burn out like last summer?

I'm seriously considering doing the Baystate Marathon, the Cape Cod Marathon or the Mount Desert Island Marathon. The latter two are challenging hilly courses, so I'd probably go with MDI if that was the only factor. I've had my eye on it for a while. However, Baystate is close by and a great race. It's also flat and I may need all the help I can get for my first full marathon. While I'm taking some time to think, I'm going to be building up my base mileage to see how I do. I need to test my body and my motivation.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Run for Boston

First of all, wow. Over 250 people read Monday's post. The sharing and reposting I saw and the response from people I've never met is overwhelming and heart warming. I wrote it partly to heal, but I also wrote if for all of you. I hope you stick around here.

Yesterday I ran what some are referring to as "memorial miles". I just had to get back out there and as usual, running was good to me. When I returned the tightness in my chest had eased a bit. I actually felt somewhat hungry and that maybe I'd sleep more than four hours tonight. I know I'm not alone in this and that many others are faring far worse.

The first few pictures are of my morning. First, my BAA Half Marathon jacket (the same group that runs the Boston Marathon, runs a half marathon in the fall), worn to show solidarity. What I didn't expect was the eye-trail from the logo up to my face and their change to sad acknowledgement.  There was the large media presence at the Stuart St side of Copley Sq that I have to weave through to get over to my gym. My gym that, at that time, was on the actual crime scene boundary. Then, a pretty Magnolia tree on my walk. After, are a bunch of pictures from my run. I didn't run to run fast. I ran to embrace all that running in Boston can be. I ran to see all the things I take for granted and I share them to show you that in our sadness, the city is still beautiful.

What you don't see here are the two SWAT team men that I thanked as I was about to start my run. They were a bit taken aback for a second until it sank in. There were the countless runners on their own runs and almost every single one of them gave me a sad eyed smile and nodded. There was the barista this am who gave me my coffees and as he handed them off, with the same sad smile, told me to take care with a look that made me know he meant it. There was the mailman walking through the Fens who gave me a slight smile. So I gave him a big smile. In turn he gave me a wonderful silly toothy grin. Both of us cracked up. Lastly, I caught something pretty awesome in my last photo. As I was waiting for the light at Huntington and Mass Ave, a group of 40 or so runners, every single one of them in BAA yellow and blue, ran by. The lead two held signs:

Run For Boston

Monday, April 15, 2013

I love you, Boston.

Yesterday, I went to my swimming class in Cambridge and then stopped by a running store for earbuds. I had destroyed my second nice pair of earphones and figured the Yurbuds with the kevlar cord may be my last hope. I was heading over to meet The Husband, check out his studio space and then get some dinner with him. Dozens of runners were milling around with their official Boston Marathon bags and badges. Some were even wearing their jackets. I wished some of them luck and then stopped at the big planter in Brattle Square to sit and get my new earbuds out. I twisted them in and then stopped...

The man in the chair had started playing and it was familiar. Neil Young. "Long May You Run." It was a beautiful sunny warm day and I thought, "how perfect is this song? This moment?" The runners stopped and for a few minutes we were all together in that moment. I took a picture just because I wanted to remember how it all stood still. These are the things that are easy to miss. Later I bought that song and was going to post it last night. I hesitated, because even though it's beautiful, it's sad.

I had no idea I'd listen to it again tonight and sob.

This was my view at 6pm tonight. It seems like a cruel joke that something so horrific happened between these two towers just hours before. My first instinct was to be angry at the light coming into my apartment at that time. HOW CAN YOU BE SO BEAUTIFUL RIGHT NOW, BOSTON?! DON'T YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID TO YOU?!

I can't fully express how I feel, but today strikes me close to home, literally and figuratively. I'm angry. I'm heartbroken. I feel sick and I feel like as bad as I feel, it hasn't fully hit me yet. I buy my running shoes at the Marathon Sports that had it's windows blown out in the blast. I tested them out on the stretch of sidewalk thats now covered in blood. I hung out in that store, eating pizza and drinking beer after one of the clinics for the BAA's Half Marathon. This is my home and I don't know when it will feel normal again. The area of the Boston Marathon finish line is part of my daily life. My gym is right there. I sit on the Boston Public Library steps to eat from the food trucks. These things are just tumbling through my head. How will I go back there? And also, damn whoever did this for making me feel like this!

How must Dave McGillivray, Tom Grilk and the rest of the BAA staff feel? What are they going through right now? I have seen, firsthand, how much they love their races and runners. From the slowest to the fastest, they sincerely care. They must be devastated. How must everyone actually affected feel - the scared, the wounded and for those who were lost? One of the lost was an 8 year old boy. It's horrific. I'm angry about that and angry that they took something so loved and honored here, OUR marathon and put a dark mark on the day. I feel for those that put their heart and souls into getting to this race to have it end how it did. I get weepy just daydreaming about the day I qualify (I might be 80 but it will happen!). Can you imagine the joy of running your first (second, third...20th) Boston being stripped away in the terror they must have felt? I dread that we will think of today on every Patriots Day from now on.

As we'd say here, I'm wicked pissed. I have no doubt that Boston will band together and dust themselves off. We may always be in a hurry and we may not say "Hi" when we brush by you on the street, but we will fight for you when you need it. We're Massholes after all, right? I don't look forward to the time it will take to get by this, but we will. I know the running community, from Boston and beyond, will take care of each other. I speak for many when I say, if you're a runner, you're my friend. I'll share post-race beers with you. I'll bump into you on the sidewalk or at my gym. I'll make good, hopefully, lifelong friends just from the suggestion to talk to coworkers because, "hey! So and so runs too!", and when you fall, as you did today, I'll cry for you.

Tomorrow I'll do what I always do when my heart is heavy and broken. I'll run. I'll run for those we lost, the ones who are too injured to run and the ones who are too broken inside to step out. When you're ready, we're here to hold you up at the start line and catch you at the finish. Us, your formerly unknown best friend for race day. For those who have gone on without us, we'll hear your footsteps in ours. We will not forget you.

Long may you run.

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